Hike of a Scared Mountain via the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Route (Kohechi) | HIKES IN JAPAN

Hike of a Scared Mountain via the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Route (Kohechi)

Follow a route through a “village in the sky” and a series of historical sites, passing through the Hatenashi-toge Pass.
  • Duration
    1Day / 4.5Hours
    Highest Point
    Elevation Gain
  • Skill Level
    Fitness Level
    Gear Level

Kohechi is one of the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Routes which stretches from Mt. Koya (Koya-san) in Nara prefecture to three shrines, known as the Kumano Sanzan, in Wakayama prefecture.It is listed among the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site as “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range,” along with shrines, temples, and other paths in the network of pilgrimage routes in Mie and Wakayama prefectures.

This route introduced here passes through the Hatenashi-toge Pass in Totsukawa Village, near the end point of Kohechi in the southern extreme of Nara prefecture. It is a vigorous, satisfying hike with a significant change in elevation.

From the Warabio bus stop, walk along the road then cross a red bridge and within about 10 minutes, you’ll be at the trailhead. Hike up the steep stone steps for about 30 minutes to reach Hatenashi Village. The area is situated on a ridge overlooking mountain ranges. With idyllic scenery made up of fields and houses, Hatenashi is often described as a “village in the sky.”

From Hatenashi Village, hike up the ridgeline for about 40 minutes to reach a col. This area, known as Tensuida, is a wide-open space with good views of the surroundings. Continue along a forested path for another 40 minutes, while viewing stone walls that are the remains of old dwellings. You will then arrive at Kannon-do Hall, where you will find a miniature shrine, an enclosure for using portable toilets, and a water source.

From Kannon-do, hike up the trail for 30 minutes to reach the highest point on the route, Hatenashi-toge Pass. Here you will find stone statues, stone pagodas and other historical relics. From this point, the trail begins to slope downward. Go straight at the junction and continue south, then hike down through the forest trail past historic choishi milestones with inscriptions like No. 20 and No. 30 along the edge of the trail.

After about an hour and 20 minutes of hiking from Hatenashi-toge, you will reach Nanairo fork. Hike down the trail that runs south-east along the ridgeline and within about 40 minutes, you will arrive at Yakio bus stop.

Other Info

The Kohechi trail travelled on this route ends at Kumano Hongu Taisha, a historic shrine said to have been originally founded in the first century AD. From Yakio bus stop, you can travel to the Hongu Taisha Mae bus stop in about 10 minutes. We recommend taking this rare opportunity to visit the shrine.
From Yakio bus stop, you can proceed on foot and arrive in about one and half hours to Kumano Hongu Taisha.

High Season:April to May, October to November


This route is located deep in the mountains, far from any railway station. The bus line running from Yamatoyagi Station is famous for having the longest route of any bus in Japan. It is advisable to get off the bus one stop before the Warabio bus stop at the Totsukawa Onsen bus stop and lodge there for one night the day before you start your hike.

Route Map

Elevation Map

Height (m)
Horizontal Distance (km)


1Day / 4.5Hours
Highest Point
1072m(Hatenashi-toge Pass)
Elevation Gain
Horizontal Distance
Skill Level
Fitness Level
Gear Level

On the Trail


Roadside Station Okukumano Kodo Hongu


Totsukawa Onsen




The featured route starts in the southern extreme of Nara prefecture. From Tokyo station, take the Tokaido Shinkansen to Nagoya station (approx. an hour and 40 minutes). From Nagoya station, take a Kintetsu Limited Express Urban Liner train bound for Osaka Namba and travel to Yamatoyagi station (approx. an hour and 40 minutes). When beginning your journey from Osaka, take the Osaka Loop Line from Osaka station in the direction of Kyobashi and travel to Tsuruhashi station (approx. 20 minutes). From Tsuruhashi station, take a Kintetsu Osaka Line express train to Yamatoyagi station (approx. 30 minutes).
From Yamatoyagi station, get on a Nara Kotsu highway bus bound for Shingu station and take the long journey to Warabio station (approx. 4 hours and 30 minutes).



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